Sunday, February 2, 2014

CGR SERIES 5


The final set for Comix Gone Rogue will be Dark Horse Manga!  This set of 5 titles with 25 artists will be the last in the series of Do It Yourself covers.  Artists to be announced! 

CGR titles will include: 

Vampire Hunter D, Ghost In The Shell, Astroboy, OldBoy & Berserk

Vampire Hunter D
Alexa Cassaro
Jose Daniel Velez

Ghost In The Shell

Astroboy
Josh Bayer
Edwin Vazquez
Evan Dent
Andrea Tsurumi

Oldboy
Amber McCall

Berserk
Steven D'Arbenzio

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

CGR SERIES 4


The next series in custom DIY blank covers called Comix Gone Rogue will be Marvel Comics!   25 artists will be listed here, all based to bring awareness to Safe Horizon.  

Spider-Man, Ghost Rider, Iron Man, She-Hulk, Fantastic Four

25 Artists will be announced here.

GHOST RIDER
*

IRON MAN
Jimmy Giegerich*
Steven D'Arbenzio*

FANTASTIC FOUR
German Orozco*

Monday, August 13, 2012

LESSON 5

PART 1: FILE FORMATS

I get a lot of questions on what is the best file extension to print the best quality.  JPG? TIFF? Or does it really matter? What do all the extension mean anyway?

Relying on one extension to print is not the best solution.  This is a valuable aspect in representing your art in line and color that shouldn't be brushed away with no care.  Picking an extension that doesn't fit your art may result in dull blurry lines as well as mud colors. Knowing which extension to print from will increase the quality of your vision.  Let's run down the common file extension list and their meaning...

BMP - Short for Bitmap. Was introduced by Windows platform but now is recognized in both Macs and PCs.  There is no compression of the file which gives a crisp, high quality graphic image.  BMPs are not used regularly due to the large amounts of hard drive space used.

JPG/JPEG - Short for Joint Photographics Experts Group. JPGs are ideal for photograph reproduction prints.  Millions of colors can be stored in this extension and compression rates can be adjusted to meet a low web standard or high print standard.  JPGs are a form of BMPs but use image compression which are ideal for hard drive space.

GIF - Short for Graphics Interchange Format. Similar to a JPG but color range is limited to 256 indexed colors which are not ideal for photographic images.  Due to its limited image size they are ideal for internet.  GIFs are best used in small icons and limited graphics and animated images.  Also another form of a BMP but uses image compression.  Not ideal for print in art with gradients and color range.

TIFF - Short for Tagged Image File.  Used to store images with many colors and uncompressed layered files.  A common extension used to save files in Graphic Design.  A good extension to print due to its ability in storing high quality images.  TIFFs can be should cross platform through Mac and Windows.  Many printers prefer a TIFF than a JPEG.

PNG - Short for Portable Network Graphics.  Similar to a GIFF in file compression but an advanced upgraded version of the GIF in color and an 8-Bit transparency channel allowing the image to fade from opaque to transparent.  PNGs differ to GIF as they cannot be animated.

PDF - Short for Portable Document Format.  Created by Adobe Systems is a highly portable cross computer platform file extension.  PDFs can be shared also to different printers with an output essentially the same.

So the long answer to which file extension is best? It all depends on exactly what you are trying to duplicate.  For the web JPGs, GIFs and PNGs are ideal.  Depending on what exactly you are trying to publish online will also help in your decision.  A rule of thumb with web publishing is if your file opens in about a second then you are fine with the extension you chose.  If it takes longer than one second then you are in danger of your audience switching off and moving on.  Reduce the size of the image and possibly change the file extension without compromising on the quality you want to present.

For print a TIF, JPG and PDF are best.  Again depending on what exactly you are printing will help in your decision.  Graphic shapes and high color a TIF.  Books, Comic Books will be a PDF and JPGs for single static shot photographs.


PART 2: PROTO COMICS/PLATINUM AGE

The creation of the American comic book developed as early as 1833.  Artists created comic strips to be published in newspapers but soon book publishers collected those strips to be published in book format. This was the first stage of comic art collected in comic book form known as the Platinum Age.

www.Dartmouth.edu
Created by Rudolphe Topffer in Switzerland 1827,  The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck was translated in many languages throughout Europe.  Considered to some as the 'Victorian Age' of comics, Topffer created 7 known comic books.  An english translated version was reprinted in New York in 1842 making it the first published comic in America.


Yellow Kid created by Richard Outcault in 1895 also was collected in a 196 page square bound black and white publication in The Yellow Kid in McFadden's Flats in 1897.  Published by Dillingham Company was the first to coin the phrase 'Comic Book' and known as the first Proto Comic Book.




In 1907 Mutt & Jeff was created by cartoonist Bud Fisher.  In 1910 reprints of original daily strips were collected and published in a hardcover book format which lasted 5 volumes.

(MORE ADDED SOON)!!!

Monday, July 30, 2012

LESSON 4

PART 1: HALF TONE PRINTING



Half tone printing printing is a reprographic technique introduced in the late 19th century as an alternative method of image reproduction.  Prior to this technology engravers were used for their high craftsmanship to duplicate images (See Lesson 3).  Half tone printing allowed newspapers to cut their reproduction costs, speed up delivery deadlines and print photography.  The quality of halftone was seen as an inferior product to the engravers artistry but eventually became the standard printing preference over engraving illustrations. 

William Fox Talbot introduced the idea of halftone printing in the 1850s using photographic screens similar to intaglio process.  Stephen H. Horgan printed the first photograph of Steinway Hall in Manhattan in December 2, 1873 using a half tone print method.  But it would still take almost a decade for the technology to allow this to become the standard. 

Steinway Hall, 1873

In 1881 Frederic Ives patented a halftone process breaking down the source image into varying dot sizes but he did not use a screen and the process was too expensive and labor intensive for  commercial success. 


In 1882, Georg Meisenbach patented his invention using single lined screens exposed to light to create a tonal range that was cheap, easy to handle and quick to process.




Both photographs and illustrations are processed without engravers but rather uses light and light sensitive emulsion to convert tones into dots of varying sizes.  After a print is made the human eye then blends them together creating a smooth and clear image naturally.  A close inspection can reveal the dots patterns in use.  In the conventional use of halftone only the size of the dots varies without an angle.






Taken from blogs.scientificamerican.com:

"The process begins with a film negative of the original image.  Light passes through the negative and then through a screen, usually a plate of glass with a grid of horizontal and vertical lines etched onto its surface.  After passing through the screen, the light exposes another piece of film.  The screen functions as a diffraction grating breaking the light into tiny discreet rays, which create the pattern of dots.  The result is a duplicate film negative with a pattern of solid dots instead of continuous shades of gray.  The duplicate negative is then used to create a plate for the offset printing process. " -Scientific American

Scientific American



COLOR HALFTONE



From a combination of Cyan, Magenta and Yellow an almost limitless color range can be achieved.  The combination of all these colors to create black unfortunately does not have munch intensity.  Black (K) was introduced into the mix to solve this problem.  This allowed colors to deepen and increase contrast but limits the options of what can be printed in pure Cyan, Magenta, Yellow in mechanical applications.   For example when a yellow is printed the design of mechanical printers allow small doses of black to leak automatic and decrease the pureness of the color.  This can dull many colors the inexperienced color artist aims for.  

In a color halftone the screen is set at fixed angles to reduce the expected moirĂ© effect. To achieve the best results the angles used for each layer of a color halftone are usually set to these degrees: 


ANGLES:
CYAN (M) - 45 Degrees
MAGENTA (M) - 75 Degrees
YELLOW (Y) - 90 Degrees
BLACK (K) - 105 Degrees




Moiré Effect


BEN DAY DOTS


Named after illustrator and printer Benjamin Henry Day Jr., created this technique which is very similar to the conventional halftone printing process.  Dots are used to achieve an image but differ in the dots remain the equal to each other and transparent overlay sheets are cut into shapes and applied to desired areas. 


Pulp comic books of the 1950s and 1960s used the Ben-Day dot process blending the four process colors of CMYK to create shading and secondary colors. The technique differed from Color Halftones by not using the angle presets since targeted areas were colored opposed to the entire page.  A color code system was developed to reduce printing costs and understand what color formulas were need to achieve color combinations. A total of 63 colors were used by skilled professionals with amazing results. 

Darker colors were undistinguishable for print and were avoided due to their lack of quality.  Whether on newsprint or gloss paper the quality of the color will still hold.  A dull dark lifeless color will appear even more on gloss paper than it would on newsprint.  This should be noted for many colorists today aiming for a dark tone to their comics.  A dark color can still have a vibrant quality and command attention rather than drown out the line art or other colors on the page.  




Life painting or life coloring is the best way to understand the quality of colors and their effects under true light which a greater insight in digital to be acquired. An example of this is in my opinion is avoiding Raw Sienna and Burnt Umber talked about in (Lesson 1).  Some artists use Burnt Umber for a skin base but it looks lifeless and the artist would spend so much time adding more colors into it to achieve the same goal of using a base of Yellow Ochre, A drop of Cadmium Red and tiny hair of Ultramarine Blue and pitch the color to whichever quality with white.  



PART 2: SETTING UP DIGITAL FILES



All you need to set up digital files is your art and a scanner.  I recommend an Epson Scanner.  First figure out what size your art is to identify which scanner is the best for you.   I work no larger than an 8 x 10 inch scale so a standard 8.5 x 11 inch scanner which is   relatively affordable and easy to acquire.  If you work larger than this and cannot afford the bigger scaled scanners you can simply reduce your art work at a print shop to a 8.5 x 11 inch size. 

RESOLUTION

I've heard a lot of professionals or companies require a 1200 resolution print image. In some cases this is fine but only if their printers can generate that much information to print.  Most don't and it becomes just a number people and artists like to emulate because they heard it from someone or believe a higher number would mean a better print.  

To clear some terminology which leads to misunderstood image printing is:

DPI refers to Dots Per Inch.  
PPI refers to Pixels Per Inch. 

PPI describes the density of pixels in a digital image.  DPI does not.  Computers raster images in pixels, usually a square and not a dot. 

Many artists scan at a high resolutions of 1200 PPI thinking they are getting a greater quality of their art  printed.  This is not the case.  What you will get is a digital image of 1200 PPI... that is it.  The correct print out resolution depends on the type of art being created. 

For line art seen in graphic arts a high resolution is needed. For continuous tone seen in photographs and paintings a low resolution is better due to lack of sharp crisp lines seen in line art.  Continuous tones only require enough resolution to create a decent halftone. 


Printers print at SPI (Samples Per Inch) or DPI (Dots Per Inch) and halftone screen printing LPI (Lines Per Inch).  Artists believe in order to print on a 1200 DPI laser printer the image itself must be 1200 PPI.  Wrong.


  • If an image is printed on newspaper at 85 LPI then a resolution of 170 PPI is needed for the best output.  


  • For books or magazines printed at 150 LPI the resolution should be 300 PPI.  Etc. Etc.


The correct approach before starting an illustration or project that is to be printed should be knowledge of the output of the printer (LPI) (SPI) or (DPI).  


BITMAP

Bitmap should only be used for line art.  Scan at least 600 PPI and higher to preserve the integrity of the line no matter the output requirements.  Bitmaps take the art and translate them to pixels of white and black only.  Art scanned with grey tones and color will turn to black. Once scanned and converted to its print ready status the PPI should be changed to meet the printers requirements.





GREYSCALE

In Greyscale everything will be scanned from the black line art to the smudge your finger made in an array of gradients.  Colors won't turn to black but will keep the grey equivalent tone to them.  



The plus side to scanning in greyscale is more of a manual approach to defining your blacks.  Since the computer isn't making all the decisions of how to organize the digital translation of pixels, the line art is left intact for you to decide how the pixels are to be organized. 

After having the line art scanned simply use your levels option in Photoshop ('Command L' is the shortcut). With 'Preview' on... move the Black Triangle Slider toward  toward the center about a quarter until your blacks become darker.  Then move your White Triangle Slider toward the center about a quarter until your whites become whiter.  Move the Grey Triangle Slider either direction just a smidge to get your blacks even darker or whites whiter.  




You are done.  A crisp line art image with grey tones handled to your liking rather than just a black dots trying to recreate your art in bitmap. With Greyscale you can now do some interesting effects giving you more options to creating your original art before scanning. 
GreyScale Handled

Bitmap Handled





PART 3: POPEYE - THE FIRST SUPERHERO?




Created by Elzie Crisler Segar, Popeye first appeared in a King Features comic strip called Thimble Theatre. Premiered in January 17, 1929 Popeye gained his own cartoon produced by Fleischer Studios by 1933.  A minor character when first premiered Popeye would soon be the first super hero.  A champion with above normal human strength, astounding adventures and super villains, Popeye predates the heroics of Superman by three years.  Much like all well known caped heros of today, Popeye represented and fought for the every man and woman. His crude manner and unique tattooed symbol on his arms was a trademark easily recognizable as any old "S" on a chest.  





NEXT WEEK: LESSON 5 - FILE FORMATS & PROTO COMICS/PLATINUM AGE